Explore some of the most fundamental questions of philosophy in this short but powerful book.
Originally published in 1905, Edward Gore Alexander Holmes' What is Philosophy is the author's essay on the nature of philosophical discourse. Holmes was an educator, a poet, and a philosopher, and was well-regarded in his time for the contributions he made to the educational-sphere, where his views were considered progressive.
In this book's 83 pages Holmes attempts to answer some of the biggest, but also most fundamental, questions about philosophy. For example, the essay opens with a discussion of the nature of truth, and the suitability for the philosopher to seek out truth. Frequent comparisons are made between the scientist, the artist, and the philosopher, and the strengths and limitations of each in the pursuit of greater understanding. It is a refreshing viewpoint assumed by Holmes, one that lends an air of weight to the work of artists and academics.
There are many questions posed in What is Philosophy, and any student of philosophy will see value in its study. This essay would in fact make for an excellent Philosophy 101, as it serves as an excellent introductory point to modern philosophical thought, while still remaining interesting for those with a broader background in the topic.
Even those not keenly interested in the study of philosophy may enjoy this read, primarily as an extended thought exercise. For while Holmes poses many questions, there are fewer answers. "There are no indisputable premises in Philosophy," Holmes says. "What is indisputable for one man, is doubtful for another, meaningless for a third, incredible for a fourth. The personal element is sure to assert itself, and cannot be eliminated."
Whether you are a seasoned student of philosophy or somebody looking for their introduction into philosophical readings, What is Philosophy is a worthwhile read.